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Fall of the House of Usher

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Fall of the House of Usher

Published 1928

Psychadelic at times, this unusual and memorable movie version of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" has some creative details, and although it is one of the more obscure versions of the story, it offers a distinctive look at a couple of its many interesting aspects. The style is deliberately murky, and it has not so much as an inter-title, so that you do need to know at least the basic plot in order to understand what is happening. Check out the Jean Epstein version, too (also 1928).

Run time 12:49
Producer James Sibley Watson
Audio/Visual silent, Black and white
Language English


Reviewer: ThirdEyePete - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2015
Subject: Wonderful - with Tangerine Dream!
I bought a second-hand Super-8 film back in the 70's, thinking it would be an extract from a Hammer film. But it was this film, with no sound track. I thought it was wonderful then and I still do now - especially when I used to project it onto a large screen in a darkened room. After trying several pieces of music, I found a track from Tangerine Dream's Force Majeure album that seemed to fit perfectly. I did a home-striping job on the film (I still have nightmares about home-striping) and added the music. I'll have to dig the film and my projector out to find which track it was. I do wish there was a good copy of the film available on DVD.
Reviewer: splue - favorite - May 23, 2011
Subject: usher is not in this
vry misleading
Reviewer: four hooves - favorite - November 30, 2009
Subject: What's the big whupp?
Ain't nothing special...just a head scratcher is all. Looks like someone was playing around with the new camera they got for Christmas back in 1928 and decided to have a few drinks, test it out, and try to create a few special effects along the way. Once they burned through enough cognac and film to splice it together into a 12 minute and 49 second sequence, they got to work and added a then hip title to it.
Reviewer: Moongleam - - June 3, 2009
Subject: Logo removed ...
A version without the logo is
Reviewer: nighthouse66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 3, 2009
Subject: AMAZING.
I can't believe that this film isn't required viewing for all film students. I also can't believe its so obscure. This is a work of art. Probably the best example of German Expressionism that one can find.
Reviewer: DiamondPaul - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 22, 2009
Subject: Wow!
I don't know which I liked better, the music or the video. I don't remember enough of Poe's story line but this is one awesome work of art. I loved it. I would give it 10 out of 5 stars.
Reviewer: killersatellit - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 13, 2009
Subject: Great movie
I like this version much more than the film by Jean Epstein (that is far too long and the music is a pain). If you have really something to say: make it short. It looks very European, or to be more precisely: like the ultimative German expressionistic Gothic novel!
Reviewer: Jake-the OTR Fanatic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 31, 2009
Subject: Verrrrrry Interesting....
I found it to be very interesting. A great deaprture from the normal film-making style of the 20's and 30's, and a wonderful piece of expressionism.
Reviewer: Fireball Steve Zodiac - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 7, 2009
Subject: I dont know the Poe Story
But off hand some interesting things that are symbolistic come to mind. The sets are very M.C. Escher-esque, staircases to staircases, some conventional, some abstract, but I point out it's escher-esque becuase it's the House of Usher, and can't help wondering if there is a deliberate link via this pun calling us to that similarity of names. The story seems to start right off with the couple seperating, she seems to walk off into a dream. There are visions of stacked books. Purposefully stacked so as to give them a staircase look. This leads me to think we are symbollically referencing education as a staricase to higher power and elitism, which seems to be what he is all about. That somehow by having his elitism grow as his knowledge and power grows, this potential personal emotional downfall is allowed to take place, the seperation of 2 people in love, one can grow too fast for one's own good is the message, and it's the downfall of his dream girl to really be his that is scuttling his life. She wanders in her dream state most of the movie searching. He wanders after her, always a little too late, as if to say his increase of knowledge wasn't helping to bring her back, but send her further away. Nicely shot, double imaging which we don't see much anymore, alluding to dream state, soft black and white but everything is distinct thats important. It has a Black Orpheus feel to it. -From one who does not know the Poe storyline.
Reviewer: adalbert_f - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2009
Subject: What a masterpiece!
This film is nothing less than a great work of art. Obviously influenced by expressionistic cinema (esp. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"), but also by modern abstract photography (esp. Man Ray, I'd say), this film comes like a weird but beautiful dream into your imagination. Great pictures, great cuts, great rhythm. Just the music sounds distorted and is a bit boring, anyway - I just shut it off and was happy. Enjoy!
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